June 13, 2014

To Say "I am Sorry"

The other day I was at a grocery store hand picking tomatoes for my weekly supplies. I was engrossed in the selection process (was also preoccupied) and I did not notice that a lady was picking Avocados from the adjacent station. As I was putting my last tomato in the bag, I swiftly turned around to walk away. Since I wasn't expecting someone to stand that close to me, in the spur of the moment I had a quick jolt and dropped the tomato bag and everything just rolled off. I don't know if it's totally my mistake, well may be partially my mistake that I wasn't paying attention to my surroundings. I ended up saying sorry repeatedly. The lady said that's alright, you are just fine and helped me pick the tomatoes and we both walked away.

A few days later a similar incident happened at home when I was carrying some papers and books on the stairs to put them away in my son's room. There is a sharp turn after we get upstairs to walk in a hallway and it's almost a blind spot (for both parties). My husband was carrying his cellphone and charger walking in the hallway to go down stairs. As rightly imagined by you all, we rammed into each other and in that quick jolt dropped the papers on the floor. (He didn't drop what he had in his hand though, apparently I scare easy). I instantly raised my voice and said "dekh kar nahi chal sakte" (Can't you pay attention while walking). Even though it was partially my fault, I did not utter the word sorry. My husband helped me gather the papers and all the while I was still cribbing over it. Neither did he say sorry, nor did I.

Isn't it paradoxical that it was a lot easier to apologize to a stranger than to someone whom you known?

Although the incident described above is a very trivial one, I wonder if the same thing happens when it is actually a matter with much larger issues among family and friends, where an apology could resolve it. On the contrary I was ok writing that apology note to a stranger (Story here: Think Before You Speak).

For some, it's ego, pride and fear of being wronged  seems to overpower that they never say sorry.
For some, they are conveniently in denial that they have done something obviously wrong to even consider an apology. For some, it's like writing the word in water, (meaningless). For some, they take time to fully realize what they did wrong before offering an apology. After all, the guilt feeling transforms into shame when a premature apology was forced to be provided.

Truth of the matter is, there are only two reason when a person honestly means an apology.
1) When you cares for the relationship and wants to save it from the wreckage.
2) When you really didn't mean to hurt/cause trouble/harm.
The former works well with friends and family and later works well with strangers.

 On a lighter note, they say apologizing doesn't mean anything if you keep repeating it again. So, the next time you accidentally dash against a person think before apologizing. you know this could happen again :)
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